There once was a guy who wanted to know what two plus two was equal to. He could remember the answer he had been given at school but he wondered if it really was as simple as the teacher had said. His next door neighbour was a mathematician so he thought maybe he should be able to dispel any doubts he had.

He asked the mathematician, “What exactly is two plus two equal to?”.

“Four”, said the mathematician.

“Are you sure?”, he said.

“Absolutely”, said the mathematician.

“All the time?”, asked the guy.

“All the time”, reassured the mathematician.

The guy went away feeling happy with the answer he had heard.

However, as the days passed he began to think more deeply about the mathematician’s answer, maybe it would be a good idea to get a second opinion.

He knew accountants dealt with numbers so surely an accountant would know the answer to his question so he went down the high street until he spotted an accountant’s office.

He asked the accountant, “What exactly is two plus two equal to?”.

“Well, round about four”, said the accountant.

“Are you sure?”, he said.

“More or less”, said the accountant, “but anything between three point six and four point four is near enough”.

“All the time?”, asked the guy.

“Well, sometimes it might be a bit less or more than that but most of the time between three point six and four point four”.

This was not the answer he had hoped for, which troubled him a little. After pondering over this he thought it might be good idea to see a lawyer.

He asked the lawyer, “What exactly is two plus two equal to?”.

The lawyer sat up and looked around the room. He walked quietly to the door, opened it sharply and then looked out down the corridor. After he closed and turned the key in the door he stepped over to the window and pulled the curtains closed. Then he returned to his chair, put his hands together, smiled and asked, “What exactly would you like it to equal?”.


Blog Day 2008

It seems I missed the great day and had it not been for a posting on CN Reviews I wouldn’t even have known there was such a thing as Blog Day.

Maybe I can make up for lost time by listing one or two blogs I’ve come across from time to time.

Simpson’s Paradox – a mixture of vague ramblings and occasionaly some quite intelligent observations and comments. Has moved from China back to the US and may move again some time in the near future.

The Opposite End Of China – a blog which comments on the affairs of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China’s wild west.  A very lively website and worth reading.

Inside-out China – written by a Chinese writer, now married to an American and living in the USA. Sometimes provokes some interesting comments and discussions.

mental_floss – for entertainment while being informed of something you probably never thought of before the mental_floss website is unbeatable.

Once upon a time, many years ago, in the East, there lived an Emperor. He was a very wealthy and happy man. He had six hundred wives who had borne him many children and he loved them all. All his children were girls and so he had no heir, which was perhaps the one thing in life which disappointed him. So imagine his surprise and delight when, one day, one of his wives presented him with a new-born son.

Over the years he watched his little boy grow and became increasingly devoted to him. Just before his son’s fifth birthday he took him to one side and said, “Son, you are the joy of my life, I cannot do enough for you. What would you like? Say what you want and you shall have it”.

The boy replied, “Daddy, I’d like an aeroplane”.

So the Emperor, who was not stuck for cash and not wishing to do things by halves, bought Delta Airlines.

As his son grew the Emperor loved him all the more and when his sixth birthday approached the Emperor took him to one side and said, “Son, you are a delight to behold, nothing is too much for you. What would you like? Say what you want and you shall have it”,

to which the boy replied, “Daddy, I’d like a car”.

So the Emperor, not wishing to do things by halves, bought General Motors.

The boy grew bigger and stronger each day and ever-more wonderful in the eyes of the Emperor so, before his son’s seventh birthday, the Emperor took him to one side and said, “Son, you are the apple of my eye, you cannot imagine the happiness you give to me. What can I give you? Say what you want and you shall have it”.

The boy replied, “Daddy, I’d like to see a film”.

So the Emperor, not wishing to do things by halves, bought the MGM studios and the rights to all the films produced there.

Nearing his son’s eighth birthday the Emperor took him in hand and said, “Son, you are an inspiration to us all, what can I do for you? Say what you want and you shall have it”.

The boy had been watching western movies for the previous year so it should be no surprise that he replied, “Daddy, I’d like a cowboy outfit”.

So the Emperor, not wishing to do things by halves, bought Halliburton.

Bicycle curves do not sag.

Bicycles don’t care if you have ridden other bicycles.

You don’t have to take a shower before you go riding.

You can go cycling at any time.

You can borrow your friend’s bicycle.

Bicycles don’t insult you if you are a bad rider.

If you say anything bad to your bicycle you don’t have to say you’re sorry before you go riding again.

When you go riding the bicycle wears the rubber, not you.

You can keep cycling until you are sore.

If you get a new bicycle you don’t have to keep sending money to the old one.

Is this divine guidance/inspiration? I was looking at the log of hits for the blog the other day and saw one or two that had arrived via Google searches. Out of curiosity I did equivalent searches using the same criteria as the original visitors, just to see what they had been looking for and might have found. One had been looking for ‘CO2’ ‘absorption’ and something else, which I can’t remember, and it produced the usual list of websites relating to climate change, ozone layers, carbon dioxide, etc plus a little gem near the bottom of the first page which was something about carbonating beer. This was a website advertising [Heath Robinson style] equipment for carbonating beer on the cheap. Almost instantly the penny dropped; here is the answer to all our climate problems. Suck the CO2 out of the atmosphere, carbonate the booze with it and let the binge drinkers swallow it!

This one is just so smart I have no answer. The warming of the atmosphere has a very straightforward explanation after all; you just need to open your eyes to what is going on around you and it becomes obvious.

All the interfering with natural processes which we do obviously has its consequences, and fiddling around with the time, as we do each year to ‘save’ daylight, is no exception. Read the full article here and here in the Arkansas Gazette.

May I be granted the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to hide the bodies of those who got on my nerves.

Help me to be careful of the toes I step on today

For they may be attached to the feet I must kiss tomorrow.

Let me always give 100% at work.

12% on Monday, 23% on Tuesday, 40% on Wednesday,

20% on Thursday, and 5% on Friday.

Help me to remember that when I am having a bad day

And it seems people are trying to wind me up,

It takes 42 muscles to frown, only 28 to smile

And 4 to extend my arm and punch someone’s face.


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